cuzziecuzz 4 months ago
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random-bookquotes 6 months ago
There鈥檚 an exception to every rule. Just as there is a warm day even in the most freezing winter. Like a single bud on a withered old tree. Like the sudden flare of a shooting star in the dead of night.
Kugane Maruyama, Overlord Vol. 13
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robininthelabyrinth 8 months ago
A prompt for you (though honestly I'll read anything you write because it is always excellent): Wen Ning never dies, but somehow still ends up becoming Wei Wuxian's most feared subordinate...
鈥淪ect Leader Nie,鈥 Jiang Cheng said, hurrying after the other man, who stopped and turned with a welcoming expression on his face even though Jiang Cheng knew he was in a hurry after everything they鈥檇 just planned. After Nie Mingjue had volunteered to go into the Nightless City himself, a reckless charge to try to kill Wen Ruohan, while the rest of them attacked directly - a final strike, if they could only manage it. 鈥淚 just鈥︹
He trailed off, unable to complete the sentence.
He didn鈥檛 even know what he was doing here.
Nie Mingjue didn鈥檛 call him out on it, though, only stepped forward and put a hand on his shoulder. 鈥淚 appreciate your support,鈥 he said, voice a little gentler than usual. Like he was trying to comfort Jiang Cheng or something.
Like he wasn鈥檛 the one volunteering to go die.
(Just like Jiang Cheng鈥檚 mother, and father, and - )
Oh. That鈥檚 why he came here.
鈥淚鈥檒l be there,鈥 Jiang Cheng said suddenly, and Nie Mingjue blinked. 鈥淎t 鈥 at the Nightless City. After you kill him, after we take the city鈥鈥檒l come find you, to make sure you鈥檙e all right.鈥
That was stupid, he thought to himself as soon as he said it. Nie Mingjue had an entire sect, and friends, and all that 鈥 he didn鈥檛 need Jiang Cheng hounding him with his insecurities, his worries, his fear that Nie Mingjue would die, too, die and leave him behind just like all the others. Why should he be the exception?
But Nie Mingjue smiled. 鈥淚 look forward to seeing you then.鈥
Jiang Cheng swallowed and nodded. 鈥淚t鈥檚 a deal, then,鈥 he said, and watched as Nie Mingjue strode away.
He promised himself that he鈥檇 do as he said he would.
Even if all he found was Nie Mingjue鈥檚 corpse.
It ended up not being Nie Mingjue who killed Wen Ruohan, but rather a combination of Wei Wuxian鈥檚 new cultivation style and Meng Yao, who鈥檇 apparently been working as a double agent or 鈥 something.
Jiang Cheng wasn鈥檛 really clear on the details.
He rushed over to Wei Wuxian鈥檚 side at once, checking him over as best as he could, yelling at him over鈥e wasn鈥檛 even sure what, it wasn鈥檛 really important. Recklessness, probably. Wei Wuxian seemed to understand what he meant, though, grinning at him with bloodless lips.
鈥淵ou worry too much,鈥 he said cheerfully. 鈥淚鈥檒l be fine. I just need to sleep for 鈥 a week. Maybe more. Let鈥檚 go back to camp, and I鈥檒l do just that.鈥
Jiang Cheng was about to agree when he remembered his promise.
(Nie Mingjue hadn鈥檛 been there at the final fight, although Wen Ruohan hadn鈥檛 been at his full power, either. Had he sacrificed himself to wear down their enemy?)
鈥淲hat is it?鈥 Wei Wuxian asked, noticing.
鈥淐hifeng-zun,鈥 Jiang Cheng said. 鈥淚 didn鈥檛 鈥 see him.鈥
Wei Wuxian frowned. 鈥淵ou think鈥? Oh, poor Nie Huaisang..!鈥
Jiang Cheng wondered for a moment why Wei Wuxian鈥檚 first thought was of Nie Huaisang, then remembered that Wei Wuxian hadn鈥檛 been there for all those months of working as Nie Mingjue鈥檚 lieutenants, him and Lan Wangji and even Jin Zixuan. He wouldn鈥檛 have that personal connection with the man, beyond the brief meeting they鈥檇 had with him before the indoctrination camp - he wouldn鈥檛 have experience with his reliable competence and his talented leadership, his compassion or the gruff praise that he gave sparingly but sincerely and which made Jiang Cheng feel for once in his life like he was every bit as good as Wei Wuxian.
鈥淚 want to鈥︹ He was going to sound dumb. No, he was a sect leader, as Nie Mingjue often (gently) reminded him; he had to decide for himself what he was going to do, and have faith that his decisions were the right ones - and act accordingly. 鈥淲e鈥檙e not leaving yet. We鈥檙e going to go further in, see if we can find him. Do you think you can hold up a little longer?鈥
鈥淵es,鈥 Wei Wuxian said, straightening up. 鈥淚鈥檒l be fine for a while yet. Let鈥檚 go.鈥
鈥淵ou鈥檒l tell me if you 鈥撯
鈥淵es, Jiang Cheng. Stop nagging. Now are we going or not?鈥
Unexpectedly, Nie Mingjue was alive.
Alive, and also extremely pissed off.
鈥淚鈥檒l take him back,鈥 Jiang Cheng said to Lan Xichen, who looked relieved: he was protecting Meng Yao from Nie Mingjue for some reason. 鈥淏etter to go separately.鈥
鈥淭hank you, Sect Leader Jiang,鈥 Lan Xichen said.
Jiang Cheng saluted and went over to Nie Mingjue, who was leaning on Wei Wuxian 鈥 a case of the injured helping the injured, in Jiang Cheng鈥檚 opinion, and he glared at his disciples until they ran over to assist them both.
Wei Wuxian was frowning, he noted. 鈥淲hat is it?鈥 he asked, and Wei Wuxian shook his head, refusing to talk and inclining his head meaningfully down towards Nie Mingjue, who looked more tired than anything else. Exhausted, injured, even half-dead鈥︹淲e should go.鈥
鈥淣o,鈥 Nie Mingjue croaked. 鈥淭here are probably 鈥 prisoners.鈥
鈥淚t can wait until we鈥檙e back at camp, surely?鈥 Jiang Cheng asked. 鈥淲e lost a lot of people in that battle. We could get reinforcements, then come back and do a full sweep when we鈥檙e less exhausted.鈥
鈥淭hey might be injured, though,鈥 Wei Wuxian put in, though he looked tired, too. 鈥淚t鈥檇 be a pity for any person to die in Wen Ruohan鈥檚 custody right after we finally defeated him.鈥
It was a good point, Jiang Cheng thought, and although he was pretty exhausted himself, he forced himself to nod. 鈥淥kay,鈥 he said. 鈥淚鈥檒l go sweep the place, look for prisoners. But you two are going straight back to camp, okay? No exceptions, no heroism, nothing! If I get back and I hear that you two took a left turn and fell face-first off a cliff into a pile of magma because you thought there was a baby bird that needed rescuing, I will personally resurrect and stab you both!鈥
Both Nie Mingjue and Wei Wuxian were grinning at him in a suspiciously indulgent (and almost identical) sort of way, Jiang Cheng noticed, but they also agreed solemnly to make no detours, not even if it was the most heartrending of baby birds, and Jiang Cheng supposed he had to be happy with that.
They staggered off together as he turned to go further in, and as he did, he thought he heard Wei Wuxian say, 鈥淭ell me more about what Meng Yao said to you 鈥撯
鈥淪ect Leader Jiang!鈥 one of Jiang Cheng鈥檚 subordinates said, rushing over and saluting. 鈥淚 found another cell!鈥
Jiang Cheng ran his hand over his eyes, wanting nothing more but to sleep. 鈥淪how me where,鈥 he ordered instead.
He鈥檇 already dispatched one of his disciples to act as a runner to Lan Xichen, asking for him to send more disciples from his Lan sect and the Nie sect (which he鈥檇 been helping coordinate in Nie Mingjue鈥檚 absence) to help get all the prisoners out 鈥 there were so many of them, and many of them were, as predicted, in poor health. He would鈥檝e preferred to ask someone else, since the Lan and Nie sects had suffered as many injuries as his Jiang sect, but the small sects were focused on themselves right now and the Jin sect鈥ell, they鈥檇 done so little in the war up till now that he鈥檇 almost forgotten that they were an option until one of his subordinates had suggested them, and then he鈥檇 dismissed the suggestion, too.
If the Jin sect were here, he thought ungraciously, they were probably busy trying to find the treasury.
At least the Lan and Nie sects had managed to confiscate the Yin metal first.
At some point, they鈥檇 have to find a way to destroy it鈥
Distracted by thoughts of politics, Jiang Cheng followed his subordinate down a twisting hallway to yet another set of cells, dark and dank but not quite as close to the place where the Yin metal had been used to refine ghost puppets, and there were men and women chained to the wall here. Unrecognizable, most of them, beaten and starved. They were probably the scions of small cultivation clans鈥
鈥淲en Ning?鈥 he blurted out, surprised to recognize the kind-looking face of one of them. To barely recognize: Wen Ning had circles under his eyes, bruises on his face, and his usually round cheeks were thin. 鈥淲hat are you doing here?鈥
鈥淗e鈥檚 been here for weeks and weeks,鈥 one of the other prisoners said at once. 鈥淗e鈥檚 not 鈥 one of those Wens.鈥
Wen Ning could still blush, Jiang Cheng noticed, and as much as he would have said he hated all those surnamed Wen 鈥 well, that wasn鈥檛 quite true, was it? Wen Ning had been there with Wen Qing, when they鈥檇 helped them. Jiang Cheng had rescued and released her, giving her that comb as a keepsake鈥t would be manifestly unjust to make the exception for one and not the other.
His disciples were looking at him.
鈥淲hat are you waiting for?鈥 Jiang Cheng snapped at them. 鈥淗e鈥檚 a prisoner, he鈥檚 hurt. Treat him as you would any of the other prisoners we鈥檝e rescued.鈥
That would be his story, he thought, if anyone later came knocking at his door to ask what he was thinking, letting a Wen go free.
Maybe it was his fault, Jiang Cheng reflected. He shouldn鈥檛 have thought 鈥榞o free鈥.
Go free implied that Wen Ning would go somewhere else, rather than following him and Wei Wuxian around like an imprinted puppy. It only got worse when Wei Wuxian spontaneously declared that he would help him find Wen Qing to make sure she was safe 鈥 without asking Jiang Cheng first, which was unhelpful.
鈥淲e can鈥檛 be seen as being partial to the Wen sect,鈥 he groaned, head in hands. 鈥淣ot even the distant branches, but much less someone adopted by Sect Leader Wen himself鈥o offense meant, Wen Ning.鈥
鈥淣one taken,鈥 Wen Ning said.
鈥淏ut they helped us,鈥 Wei Wuxian argued, clearly choosing to take the offense on Wen Ning鈥檚 part. 鈥淚t would be unjust for us to turn on them now, when we have the power and they don鈥檛, when they took risks on our behalf in the past.鈥
Jiang Cheng squinted at him. 鈥淚s this related to your weird thing about Lianfeng-zun?鈥 he asked. Wei Wuxian had taken a firm stance against the man recently, and had spoken of it incessantly.
鈥淣o! Or, I mean 鈥 I would鈥檝e done it anyway, okay? Listen, I really don鈥檛 like that guy.鈥
鈥淣o,鈥 Jiang Cheng gasped dramatically. 鈥淵ou, Wei Wuxian, don鈥檛 like Lianfeng-zun? Wen Ning, did you hear that? Can you believe it?鈥
Wen Ning was hiding his face behind his sleeve 鈥 a Jiang sect outfit, one of Jiang Cheng鈥檚 own spares, since that was what they had, but the dark purple suited him rather well. Better than the red ever had.
His shoulders were shaking with laughter.
鈥淭raitor,鈥 Wei Wuxian told him.
鈥淪orry, Wei-gongzi!鈥 Wen Ning giggled.
(Jiang Cheng did not think that Wen Ning was cute when he laughed, nor did he wish to see it happen again, to be the cause of it again. He was the leader of a sect, with an obligation to have heirs to carry on his parents鈥 legacy 鈥 he could think Wen Qing was pretty, even if she wasn鈥檛 exactly an advantageous match, but he was not allowed to think the same about Wen Ning.)
Wei Wuxian sighed and flopped down. 鈥淗is conduct is questionable,鈥 he grumbled. 鈥淟an Zhan agrees with me鈥nyway, why are we talking about Lianfeng-zun again? I thought we were talking about finding Wen Qing, and the rest of Wen Ning鈥檚 family?鈥
Jiang Cheng groaned again. 鈥淚 can try to raise it at the meeting in Lanling,鈥 he said, even though they鈥檇 all agreed that it made the most sense for the Jin sect to be the ones to resettle any prisoners of war, mostly on account of them having the money, the manpower, and the time, being the only sect that didn鈥檛 have significant work to do rebuilding after Wen sect aggression. 鈥淧rovided you behave. Okay?鈥
Wei Wuxian, predictably, did not behave.
鈥淪ect Leader Jiang?鈥 Nie Mingjue unexpectedly said from the doorway to the room Jiang Cheng was staying in, and Jiang Cheng spun to stare at him in horror that someone was seeing him in this state. The other sect leader stepped inside, ignoring the mess of things on the floor from Jiang Cheng鈥檚 temper tantrum, and closed the door behind him. 鈥淎re you all right?鈥
Jiang Cheng opened his mouth to say something 鈥 something confident and self-assured, something that would help brush away Wei Wuxian鈥檚 atrocious behavior and his own as nothing to worry about, something befitting the sect leader of the Jiang sect 鈥 but the words stuck in his throat and, instead, to his absolute disgust, he burst into tears.
He expected Nie Mingjue to make a hasty exit at that point, appalled by the rampant display of emotionality, and that he鈥檇 have to apologize later for disgracing himself in such a fashion. That had been the way it had always gone with his parents, his father who hated sadness and his mother who hated weakness, and so he wasn鈥檛 expecting it at all when Nie Mingjue stepped forward and pulled him into his arms. Into a hug.
It was terrible: there was absolutely no way Jiang Cheng would be able to get ahold of himself now that he was feeling warm and protected and like someone gave one single damn about him.
Nie Mingjue didn鈥檛 let go of him, not even when he tearfully apologized for making a display 鈥 鈥淚t鈥檚 not wrong to have feelings, Jiang Wanyin, and it鈥檚 not harming me to be here while you let them out.鈥 鈥 or even when, in broken unfinished unpolitical sentences, Jiang Cheng started stuttering his way through鈥e wasn鈥檛 even sure what he was saying.
Possibly a rendition of all the bitterness and resentment he鈥檇 ever had in his life.
When it was done, after he鈥檇 wept all the tears he鈥檇 hidden inside of him, Nie Mingjue said only: 鈥淔eeling better?鈥
Jiang Cheng swiped at his eyes with his sleeve. 鈥溾es,鈥 he said, realizing that he did. 鈥淚鈥檓 sorry 鈥撯
鈥淒o not apologize for having emotions like any other human being. Or for being a burden on me, which you are not.鈥
Jiang Cheng wished it didn鈥檛 feel so good when Nie Mingjue 鈥 stiff, stern, harsh Nie Mingjue, who rarely said kind words and never said anything just for the sake of saying it 鈥 said things like that. It would make it far easier to keep his dignity intact.
鈥淲hy did you come here?鈥 he asked, instead. 鈥淚t wasn鈥檛 to hear me talk about Wei Wuxian.鈥
At least, not the lifelong story of how Jiang Cheng had always been second to him even before he鈥檇 shown up 鈥 how his birthday was only a few days later, his skill a little bit less, his temperament inferior, his life inferior; how Jiang Cheng could ignore all of that if only Wei Wuxian were his brother the way he was his, the way he鈥檇 promised to be, and yet more and more nowadays it felt as if it were slipping out of reach.
鈥淚t was,鈥 Nie Mingjue said. 鈥淗e鈥檚 been coming around rather a lot to discuss Lianfeng-zun. It was his vehemence on the issue that reassured me that I wasn鈥檛 overreacting to the unnecessary death of my sect cultivators at Lianfeng-zun鈥檚 hands 鈥撯
The what?
Maybe Jiang Cheng should have listed a bit more when Wei Wuxian started ranting about how untrustworthy he thought Lianfeng-zun was.
鈥溾 and you have always had the strongest confidence in his sense of righteousness, even after he switched over to using demonic cultivation. Based on that, I thought there might be some reason behind his actions.鈥
Wei Wuxian鈥檚 actions: kidnapping an entire cohort of Wen sect cultivators from a Jin sect resettlement camp, assaulting several guards, running away, bringing shame on the Jiang sect by association鈥
鈥淚f I knew anything, I would tell you,鈥 Jiang Cheng said bitterly. 鈥淏ut that would require Wei Wuxian telling me. Anything. At all.鈥
Nie Mingjue nodded thoughtfully. 鈥淒o you think he acted maliciously?鈥
鈥淲hat? No,鈥 Jiang Cheng said at once. 鈥淥f course not.鈥
鈥淒o you think his thinking was affected by his demonic cultivation?鈥
鈥淚 almost wish it was, but no. He鈥檚 always been 鈥 like this. Reckless and over-confident, never thinking of consequences.鈥
鈥淪o you still have faith in him?鈥
鈥淥f course!鈥
鈥淭hat鈥檚 good enough for me,鈥 Nie Mingjue said, as if Jiang Cheng hadn鈥檛 spent half a shichen crying on his shoulder about how all of his problems and how he couldn鈥檛 do anything right. 鈥淟et鈥檚 go ask him.鈥
鈥淲hat, now?鈥
鈥淎re you doing anything else?鈥
Fair was fair, but politics were politics: 鈥淚f you鈥檇 gone about it the right way, perhaps the Jin sect wouldn鈥檛 have a claim,鈥 Nie Mingjue said, pacing around the Burial Mounds with a scowl. 鈥淏ut as it stands now, it鈥檚 your word against theirs 鈥 and yours will be considered impaired on account of your demonic cultivation.鈥
鈥淲hat about the testimony of the victims?鈥 Wei Wuxian demanded.
鈥淲en sect,鈥 Jiang Cheng put in, and shrugged when Wei Wuxian glared at him. 鈥淚t鈥檚 true! Like it or not, their surname is Wen, and for Wen Qing and Wen Ning in particular, they were Sect Leader Wen鈥檚 wards.鈥
鈥淚t was not our choice,鈥 Wen Qing said. Her voice was cold, and she鈥檇 tried to return the comb to him, earlier, though he鈥檇 refused 鈥 why he refused he didn鈥檛 know, since her decision to approach Wei Wuxian to seek help in rescuing the rest of her family rather than him had cut off any hope of anything between them. Even if she eventually understood his perspective, or even apologized for judging him unfit or unwilling to help her, he didn鈥檛 think he could live the rest of his life with a woman who had picked Wei Wuxian first.
鈥淭hat isn鈥檛 what鈥檚 important, though,鈥 Wen Ning said unexpectedly, and they all looked at him. He ducked his head, picking at his sleeve. 鈥淚t isn鈥檛. Sect Leader Jiang鈥檚 right: our surname is Wen. It鈥檚 reasonable for people to assume that we鈥檙e loyal to the Wen sect, and to treat us accordingly.鈥
鈥淲e never fought against anyone! We鈥檝e never 鈥撯
鈥淚t doesn鈥檛 matter what we did, jiejie,鈥 Wen Ning said. 鈥淲hether or not we fought for our sect, we would鈥檝e benefited if they won, right? You rise when your clan rises, and fall when it falls. Why should we be an exception?鈥
鈥淲ell said,鈥 Nie Mingjue said, and Wen Ning abruptly turned bright red 鈥 Jiang Cheng shot him a sympathetic look; he entirely understood the issue there. 鈥淵our testimony will be deemed self-interested, and even asking for it will only undercut Wei Wuxian鈥檚 position. Not to mention the Jiang sect鈥檚.鈥
Jiang Cheng nodded, but Wei Wuxian crossed his arms. 鈥淭hen just kick me out of the Jiang sect,鈥 he said.
鈥淲hat?鈥 Jiang Cheng exclaimed, and even Nie Mingjue looked startled. 鈥淎bsolutely not!鈥
鈥淲hy not? Isn鈥檛 the whole point that the Jiang sect is being dragged down by me and my new cultivation? Kick me out, and the problem鈥檚 solved.鈥
鈥淚 could cut off your head, and that of everyone else here,鈥 Nie Mingjue said. 鈥淭hat would also solve the problem, but for some reason I鈥檓 not suggesting it. Can anyone tell me why?鈥
鈥溾ecause it鈥檚 a bad idea?鈥 Wen Ning volunteered.
鈥淏ecause it鈥檚 a stupid idea,鈥 Nie Mingjue agreed.
鈥淚t is a stupid idea,鈥 Jiang Cheng growled. 鈥淓ven putting aside that I don鈥檛 want to cast you out, do you really think people will stop blaming the Jiang sect for your actions just because you鈥檙e formally not aligned with us?鈥
鈥淭here isn鈥檛 another option,鈥 Wei Wuxian said. 鈥淚鈥檓 not giving up the Wen sect, I鈥檓 not changing my cultivation style, I鈥檓 not giving up the Tiger Seal 鈥 and I鈥檓 not dragging the Jiang sect down with me, not if I can help it.鈥
鈥淎re they really calling me 鈥楪host General鈥?鈥 Wen Ning asked on one of his visits to the Lotus Pier to pick up supplies for the Yiling Burial Mounds.
Since Wei Wuxian had been so set on splitting from the Jiang sect, they鈥檇 eventually reached a compromise, of sorts. Wei Wuxian鈥檚 actions in rescuing the Wen sect remnants was 鈥 not endorsed, per se, as it was clearly wrongful, but Nie Mingjue announced that he had examined the Wen in question and found evidence suggestive of malnutrition and abuse, which indicated at minimum some negligence on the part of the Jin sect in not supervising the guards better. Accordingly, the Wen sect would be removed from the Jin sect鈥檚 custody and permitted to set up camp in Yiling under Wei Wuxian, but as punishment for his reckless and unsanctioned behavior, Wei Wuxian was to be expelled from the Jiang sect.
Since the expulsion was mandated by external forces, rather than being a result of his own decision, Jiang Cheng was able to give Wei Wuxian a sizeable settlement as a gift for his separation 鈥 the cultivation world gossiped about it, but most people seemed to think he was just trying to get his own back at Nie Mingjue for supposedly forcing the decision to expel Wei Wuxian down his throat 鈥 and to set up something of a trade agreement to send them more, although exactly what the Jiang sect was getting out of their side of the 鈥榯rade鈥 was still up in the air.
Despite these outward signs of remaining support, several small sects had made attempts on the Burial Mounds, growing more reckless once they realized that Jiang Cheng really hadn鈥檛 left any forces behind to protect it 鈥 stupid of them, of course, since the reason he hadn鈥檛 left anyone behind was because he didn鈥檛 need to.
Wei Wuxian could handle himself perfectly well.
As could Wen Ning, apparently 鈥 he was a truly excellent archer, it turned out, and capable of waiting in all sorts of strange places with perfect patience, even if sometimes he had strange ideas about painting his face with mud to better blend in. It鈥檇 been one of those incidents that had given rise to the rumor that he was actually dead, having been resurrected by Wei Wuxian鈥
鈥淵es,鈥 Jiang Cheng said. 鈥淪orry about that. I tried to tell them to stop, but鈥︹
鈥淚t made it worse?鈥
鈥淚t made it so much worse,鈥 Jiang Cheng sighed. 鈥淎nyway, would you like to drink?鈥
鈥溾o you mean tea?鈥
鈥淵es please,鈥 Wen Ning said. 鈥淚 have been 鈥 so stressed. You wouldn鈥檛鈥ctually, you probably would believe it.鈥
鈥淚 grew up with Wei Wuxian,鈥 Jiang Cheng said grimly. 鈥淚 believe anything.鈥
鈥淚t would be good to bring a representative of Yiling Wei sect to the conference, even if it can鈥檛 be Wei Wuxian himself,鈥 Nie Mingjue remarked, looking down at the plans Jiang Cheng had laid out for the first discussion conference to be held in the Lotus Pier since the war. 鈥淵ou鈥檙e on good terms with Wen Qionglin, aren鈥檛 you? Ask him 鈥撯
鈥淣o!鈥 Jiang Cheng exclaimed, then realized he was being suspicious and cleared his throat. 鈥淢aybe someone else should invite them.鈥
Nie Mingjue looked at him over the table. 鈥溾as something happened?鈥 he asked.
Jiang Cheng stared down at the plans and hoped he wasn鈥檛 blushing. 鈥淣othing important,鈥 he said, and his voice cracked on the last sound 鈥 embarrassing.
Still not as embarrassing as that time he cried into Nie Mingjue鈥檚 arms, no, but still鈥mbarrassing.
鈥淥h,鈥 Nie Mingjue said. 鈥淵ou slept with him.鈥
鈥淗ow can you tell?鈥 Jiang Cheng hissed, mortified beyond all belief. 鈥淚s it 鈥 written on my face 鈥撯
鈥淎ccording to Huaisang, it鈥檚 always a safe guess,鈥 Nie Mingjue said, and shrugged when Jiang Cheng gaped at him. 鈥淓ither they admit that that鈥檚 the case, as you just did, or they get all up in arms and explain what it really was while denying it.鈥
鈥淭hat鈥檚 鈥撯 Really useful and Jiang Cheng will have to put it into effect immediately. 鈥溾 terrible.鈥
鈥淲orks, though. Why the embarrassment? I didn鈥檛 think the Jiang sect cared about cut sleeves.鈥
鈥淲e don鈥檛,鈥 Jiang Cheng said, sitting down and putting his head in his hands. 鈥淏ut I鈥檓 sect leader 鈥撯
鈥淵ou had sex, it鈥檚 not like you got married.鈥
鈥淚 used to have a thing for his sister.鈥
鈥淎wkward, I suppose, but it never went anywhere, did it? One can hardly hold your past inclinations against you 鈥撯
鈥淲e were both thinking about you,鈥 Jiang Cheng blurted out, and then promptly wanted to die. He could have just not said that. He could have said anything else but that. He could stab himself right now and maybe Nie Mingjue would be so distracted by the bleeding and screaming that he would just forget what Jiang Cheng had just said鈥
鈥淵ou could always just ask,鈥 Nie Mingjue said.
Jiang Cheng looked up through his fingers. 鈥溾re you serious?鈥
Nie Mingjue looked at him with arched eyebrows. 鈥淎re you asking me if I鈥檇 be flattered by being propositioned by two extremely beautiful and deadly cultivators?鈥
鈥淚 wouldn鈥檛 rank those two as equally desirable traits in a lover,鈥 Jiang Cheng said, and it was almost not a lie, 鈥渂ut鈥es?鈥
He thought for a moment.
鈥淚f I did invite Wen Ning to the Discussion Conference鈥︹
鈥淲ell,鈥 Wen Ning said. 鈥淭his wasn鈥檛 how I was expecting to end up.鈥
鈥淢e, either,鈥 Jiang Cheng said. He was staring up at the ceiling and thinking about not moving again for 鈥 possibly ever.
鈥淪ame for me,鈥 Nie Mingjue, on his other side, agreed. 鈥淏ut I have no objections to how it worked out. There aren鈥檛 two other cultivators I鈥檇 rather be with.鈥
鈥淭here鈥檇 better not be,鈥 Jiang Cheng said on automatic, then considered bashing his head in 鈥 luckily both Wen Ning and Nie Mingjue reached over and put their hands under his head so he couldn鈥檛, which made him feel warm and happy in a way subtly different from the way the sex had. 鈥淚 mean, who else would it be? Zewu-jun and Lianfeng-zun?鈥
鈥淲ei-gongzi still thinks Lianfeng-zun is trying to kill you, you know,鈥 Wen Ning said to Nie Mingjue, who looked long-suffering. 鈥淗e鈥檚 got this idea 鈥撯
鈥淗e can鈥檛 be trying to kill me,鈥 Nie Mingjue argued. 鈥淗e鈥檚 just offered to help Xichen play calming music for me 鈥撯
鈥淲ei-gongzi said that maybe he鈥檚 trying to kill you through the music 鈥撯
鈥淚鈥檓 going to sleep,鈥 Jiang Cheng announced. 鈥淲hen I wake up, we can discuss the political implications of letting there be rumors about us sleeping together, which will make it both convenient for us to do this again and also maybe using the potential threat of a Yiling Wei-Yunmeng Jiang-Qinghe Nie alliance to force the Jin sect to take action so we can figure out once and for all if Lianfeng-zun is actually planning to do something. But for the moment, I am going to sleep.鈥
鈥溾eems fair,鈥 Nie Mingjue agreed. 鈥淐ommunication and straightforwardness is important in relationships like these.鈥
鈥淯h,鈥 Wen Ning said, glancing at Jiang Cheng. 鈥淎bout that鈥f, theoretically, I were to know something about someone鈥︹
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arrowcoloring 3 months ago
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arrowcoloring photoshop file number 111
A Halloween Special 鈾 Work good in aesthetic and random pictures. You can modify all layers to personal use. Like or Reblog if you download. DeviantArt.
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chrisevansluv 15 days ago
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Can we finally move on?
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sofd-maybe a month ago
Little snatcher rant in the tags sorry sorry sorry sorry
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gebo4482 7 months ago
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Director: Yuzo Sato Story & Writer: Hirotaka Adachi (Otsuichi) Character Design: Yoshitaka Amano
Netflix Geeked Week Day Four: All the Biggest Anime and Animation Announcements (ign.com)
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sweetygirlm 4 months ago
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馃挏馃挌 Snacks 馃挌馃挏
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gear-project a month ago
Ok pretty much Chaos gave us insight on vampires or demihumans. He said that they can act as terminals to other worlds, so basically, it is possible for Nagoriyuki to travel to another universe in Guilty Gear or could he intend on using Nagoriyuki again to bring him (Chaos) back into the reality? And could Chaos probably know about Slayer's existence?
Okay, you remember what happened during the Baptisma 13 Incident, right?
GG2 Overture events.
Valentine was "sublimating" (dismantling/killing) Gears in order to Open a Gateway to the Backyard.
That was (to her knowledge at least) the only way to enter the Backyard.
There's only so many ways to enter the Backyard:
1. Gateways from Gears (which could kill the Gear)
2. Pure Fluke (which has a low percentage of happening, like the woman in Izuna's origin story)
3. The Tome of Origin (which only recognizes Asuka R. Kreutz as the owner at the moment, not to mention is merged with him).
4. Spatial Displacement (swapping this world's space with the Backyards, like what the Cradle did over Babylon, which basically killed the entire population of Babylon in the process, not to mention created an Information Flare).
5. The Absolute World (which would kill all life as we know it)
The Tome of Origin is really the only "safe way" to Enter and control functions in the Backyard, and really that's the only way Asuka was able to create isolated spaces within that place.
Bedman "deleted his existence" without killing himself, which is (partly) how he created his Dream World (Nightmare Theater) which protects him from the Backyard's density itself, much like Asuka's "Isolated Space" (The Cube). Really it's a bubble that keeps whoever's inside it from being crushed by that information.
The Cradle is basically channeling the power of Justice "connected" to the Backyard's Magic energy output, which is why an Information Flare could be generated. Information Flares are basically "really BIG balls of Magic" that are so dense that they create a "hole" in this universe in to the Backyard. By swapping one Information Flare in the Backyard with another "space of information" in the Outside world... that's how the Cradle was able to teleport... but it killed a lot of people in the process.
BASED ON ALL OF THIS INFORMATION... it is NOT a "safe" or "easy" process for anyone to access a "terminal" to another Dimension/World.
Most likely, you'd have to kill a Demihuman (Youkai) to even get anywhere... if not otherwise "nearly kill" a Demihuman in the process (if Dr. Paradigm nearly killed himself just to get a "peek" at the Backyard, then Nagoriyuki probably wouldn't have much luck either).
The only people who would really have that kind of power are Izuna and Axl Low, and their Magic is unique, but has its own risks too.
If there does "exist" an item or object that could "create" a terminal in a "safe" manner, it either doesn't exist, or hasn't been discovered. So even something like the Tome of Origin has its own rules, and how it was created is still not quite clear in the first place... if something "like" the Tome of Origin existed for other worlds, no humans at the very least have knowledge of it.
SLAYER.... on the other hand, is an "exception".
He claimed to come from the Makai world, and while our first conjecture is that the Makai was a "layer" of the Backyard... it could in fact be another Dimension altogether, if what we know so far is true.
While Slayer said he planned on "retiring" to that world, he never actually said 'how' he would do such a thing... or if going back there was even possible for him (other than Zappa's joke ending).
Based on Slayer's conversations with Zato post-resurrection, however... it seems that the Underworld (where Zato's soul went when he died) does appear to exist... at the very least (though it may be similar to Izuna's Yomotsuhirasaka).
However, Izuna is still considered a Backyard Resident, and not a resident of any other Dimension.
If Slayer does have a "safe method" for entering the Makai (his home world), then it would make sense for other "safe methods" to also exist... but I don't think such knowledge would be easy to gain, for varying reasons.
Vampires keep a lot of secrets for their own protection, that much is a given.
Even the fact that Nagoriyuki's sword could be "harmful" to Gear Cells was a deep secret as well. How Happy Chaos got that knowledge is either a lucky guess, or he must've known something fundamental about the Flame of Corruption, otherwise.
Regardless, there's still not enough information to say how crossing over in to other Dimensions would work, let alone if the process would be a safe one.
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fidjiefidjie 5 months ago
Bonne matin茅e 馃挆馃珎馃挒
Elisa Point & Leonard Lasry 馃幎 Libre
(Avec Brigitte Bardot & Laurent Terzieff)
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imagine-loki a year ago
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Catching Loki off guard by having an intellectual distribution to a conversation. He soon realizes that perhaps he should make a one-time exception for this mortal.
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fieriframes 10 months ago
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[A man standing in a kitchen preparing food. Caption: In life there is competition and love is no exception.]
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fandompost 7 months ago
Netflix Announces Original Anime 'Exception' From Otsuichi & Yoshitaka Amano
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Netflix Announces Original Anime 'Exception' From Otsuichi & Yoshitaka Amano
A new original series in production now.
Check out the full article by Chris Beveridge on The Fandom Post!
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asktheheirofslytherin 3 days ago
She sits there and listens as if He were a priest, as if hypnotized by lips that speak the smoothest words, whispers to her soul. Until her mind shuts down, lost in the pain coursing through her. That cold voice is now distant but it still reaches her. She blinks the sudden haze away, but words kept coming from His mouth: will die for me, little one, - is she dead and in Heaven? - she almost laughed at that - task, punishment, reward.
Reward, she repeats, her heart skips a beat. Of course she is not, there's no such place for her. She manages to come back to her senses just in time to catch His gaze lingering on her lips. A look of defeat passes over His features, but He mastered Himself quickly and she ignores the little jolt that went through her. And when He retreats, she knows, He's pulling away from the tempting magnet. So she stands up confidently and finds herself staring at His chest, the silk of His robe, imagining the skin underneath. Oh, how she would love to touch it, to feel it under her fingertips. Drunk on this madness - she would love nothing else but to throw herself in His arms.
It feels like an eternity passes before she looks up at Him. And there, she realizes- again, her Heaven stands tall in front of her - and in Safe Hell in His eyes.
"Well, perhaps I have... rehearsed for this moment. A few times, on m...," her lip burns and she hisses at the sensation, but uses the moment to stop herself. "On multiple occasions. So yes, of course I have."
She certainly wouldn't come unprepared and stand before Him. Even if it meant casting Crusio on her own blood or those drooling over her. She remembers those moments when she wouldn't mind leading them to her room just to surprise them. A smirk graces her mouth, but she quickly wards it off. He doesn't have to know. Though, she's never taken a life. She waited for Him - to make Him proud - to honor Him. That first murder will be for Him. She knows the moment will come and she will do it without hesitation. She raises her chin up. "But they certainly deserved it. Even if they did not, it's not in my blood to care."
It's wrong to get a thrill out of it, to be high on it. But she was a disaster in love with a much bigger catastrophe.
"Now may I ask. Do You - my Lord..." she bows her head, "...always..." she looks around and steps towards Him as if to tell a secret and not challenge Him - not at all. "...offer the Mark first and then test us and our skills?"
She stands close to Him again, can almost see her own reflection in His eyes. Heart hammers in her chest and it takes great willpower to keep her hands to herself.
"Or am I an exception?" (The Flirting Anon)
[ugh the mistakes also I debated for quite some time whether she'd cast the curse before. But she def prepared for this lol a few times on her relatives and potential lovers, why not馃ゲ]
She had practiced. Of course she had. Most had at least tried, nowadays. With varying success. He was eager to see how she had fared.
She drank each of his words as though they were the last she would ever hear, she looked upon him as though he were the star her planet was tethered to, her entire reason for being. That look alone was intoxicating.
She might truly die at his touch, he mused, smirking. Ah- it was a risk he was willing to take.
And how bold she was- stepping forward in the guise of humility.
"Perhaps your greatest challenge is self control," Voldemort hisses, voice almost teasing. Almost. He does not take a step back, no, he leans forward, inches between them. "Willpower. Obedience."
He pulls back, his eyes flashing. Oh, how he wants her. But what a poor model of self control would he be if he touched her in this moment.
"An exception, yes, but not for the self indulgent reasons you may think." He tilts his head, considering her. "Your family is renowned among my ranks - your father in particular has remained in my favor for quite some time. I promised him once, as a reward, that any of his children who asked would be guaranteed the Mark. Now-" he nods to the side, an opening door.
A death eater steps inside, unease etched in his features.
"This is what happens when you are a constant disappointment," Voldemort says lazily, frowning. "You become the day's target practice."
"Do not be shy, say hello- you do know one another, yes? Hmm. Now, my dear, let us see how well you can perform that cruciatis."
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sourlemondrops 9 months ago
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I won this Chelsea amiibo card at @xdreamcozy 's twitch stream 馃槶馃槶馃槶馃槶 It just arrived now but the wait was soo worth it
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mesillusionssousecstasy 2 months ago
Something can't be a rule if there are exceptions to it. And please don't give me any banal untruths about exceptions proving the rule. Tell me something about exceptions as such.
Andrzej Sapkowski (The Witcher : The last wish)
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fyeahiwatarikei 4 months ago
鈥 i love you. but that doesn鈥檛 change anything. 鈥 - with Satoshi or Rio
Enemies to Lover, Lovers to Enemies and Everything in Between
His chest presses against her back, arms encircling the waist to hold her against him. It doesn鈥檛 break her focus, as her gaze remains on the notebook she鈥檚 scribbling in. Before her, bathed in the orange light of her desk lamp, paper spreads covered in notes, sketches and references for later, all precious snippets of information taken from a thick, brand new book featuring coated pages and a lot to tell about European artistic movements from the first half of the XXth century. Another name is added to a list of futurists and, under his chin, Kei can feel the shoulder move as she extends her left arm to turn the page. Swirls of dazzling colours appear for a brief moment, swiftly replaced by another stern page with much more text.
鈥淚sn鈥檛 it a bit too late for a study session? A young mother needs her precious hours of sleep.鈥
鈥淭ell me what you want.鈥
There鈥檚 no fooling Hikari Rio after so long; she鈥檚 of course not going to believe he honestly worries about her lack of rest, especially since he would have long died of an ulcer if it had ever been the case. As gentle clarification, he gives the tiniest of kisses to her earlobe and reaffirms his grip on her figure.
鈥淲hat could I ever desire besides your well-being and seeing your radiant smile in the morning?鈥
This is enough to make her hand pause. Her head finally turns to send him a sharp, inexpressive glance.
鈥淵ou鈥檙e not staying. We have an agreement.鈥
鈥淚 haven鈥檛 visited in over a year.鈥
He is a busy man fulfilling his side of the contract by reducing any risk of Satoshi seeing him in passing; whether Rio will be sensitive to these purely subjective arguments, however鈥 As a last attempt, he lets his hands trail on her stomach, until they reach her sides. Lightening the touch until only fingertips brush against clothes, they ascend towards the shoulders, where he leaves one to rest. The other reaches her temple, gently pushing thick, silky hair back behind her ear to expose more of her cheek and neck. Muscles stiffen, enhancing their shape under the skin; eyes meet again. For a moment, it seems she wants to say something, something that never comes, replaced by the expected words:
鈥淭hat doesn鈥檛 change anything.鈥
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cocoa-at-night a year ago
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Day 67 after the Lowardian invasion.聽
Dear Diary, It occurred to me today that after the comet incident, Shego gained not only plasma powers, but also feline traits. She likes warm places, often disregards my athority, and likes to groom herself.聽聽
Day 71 after the Lowardian invasion.聽
Dear Diary, I am still testing my theory that Shego is, in fact, a cat, today I put a warm, lit lamp on my table, just as expected, Shego sat under it.
Day 75 after the Lowardian invasion.
Dear Diary, today Shego demanded my full attention and she sat on what appears to be her favorite place; my table. It did not seem to matter to her that I was working on a very important project to subdue the world, curiously the lamp was not lit, I need to gather more information about it. 聽聽
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newsintheshell 2 months ago
Netflix Festival Japan 2021: una valanga di novit脿 dall鈥橝nime Day
Annunci, trailer e date di debutto per il 2022 della piattaforma, all鈥檌nsegna dell鈥檃nimazione giapponese.聽聽
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Di seguito trovate tutte le, numerosissime, novit脿 presentate da Netflix聽durante la diretta streaming della prima delle due giornate del Netflix Festival Japan 2021, tutta dedicata agli anime.聽
I primi 12 episodi dell鈥檃ttesissima nuova serie聽basata sulla sesta parte della celebre saga generazionale ideata da Hirohiko Araki, il cui popolarissimo manga聽猫 edito in Italia da Star Comics, arriveranno in streaming dal 1 dicembre.
Inizialmente il Media Center di Netflix聽riportava una distribuzione mensile, ma ora quella dicitura 猫 sparita.
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La seconda stagione dell鈥檕riginale serie supereroistica sar脿 composta sempre da 25 episodi e arriver脿 in streaming divisa in due parti: i primi 13 episodi saranno disponibili a partire da aprile 2022.聽
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La nuova serie animata ispirata al manga 鈥淭hermae Romae鈥 di Mari Yamazaki, far脿 il suo debutto sulla piattaforma nel 2022.聽
Il protagonista, Lucius, sar脿 interpretato da Kenjio Tsuda (Tatsu in La via del grembiule - Lo yakuza casalingo).
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Annunciata la produzione, sempre da parte dello studio MAPPA (Jujutsu Kaisen, Dorohedoro), di una serie animata tratta dal manga聽prequel di 鈥淜akegurui鈥, edito in Italia da J-POP Manga. 聽
A differenza della serie principale, questo fumetto ha come protagonista Mary Saotome, che sar脿 interpretata ancora una volta da Minami Tanaka (Nitocris in聽Fate/Grand Order The Movie: Divine Realm of the Round Table - Camelot).
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Confermata una seconda stagione per la nuova serie animata in computer grafica della celebre saga fantascientifica, diretta da Kenji Kamiyama (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex) assieme a Shinji Aramaki (Appleseed Alpha).
I nuovi episodi debutteranno globalmente nel corso del 2022.
Annunciato un nuovo film d鈥檃nimazione聽in computer grafica ispirato al popolare manga shonen聽fantasy di Nakaba Suzuki, edito in Italia da Star Comics. La pellicola avr脿 come protagonista Tristan, il figlio di Meliodas, e racconter脿 una storia inedita scritta dall鈥檃utore.聽
Il film prodotto dagli studi MARVY JACK e ALFRED IMAGEWORKS sar脿 diviso in due parti, che verranno distribuite nel corso del 2022. La regia 猫 affidata a Bob Shirahata聽(Hetalia World Series), sotto la supervisione di Noriyuki Abe聽(The Seven Deadly Sins the Movie: Prisoners of the Sky), mentre della sceneggiatura si sta occupando Rintaro Ikeda聽(The Seven Deadly Sins: Il giudizio del drago).
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L鈥檕riginale serie horror sci-fi diretta da聽Yuzo聽e sceneggiata聽da聽Hirotaka 鈥淥tsuichi鈥 Adachi (My Capricorn Friend, Summer Ghost, Goth) debutter脿 in streaming nel 2022.聽
Prodotta presso gli studi BAKKEN RECORD (Joran The Princess of Snow and Blood) e 5 INC聽(Make My Day), la serie si avvale del聽character design聽ad opera di Yoshitaka Amano, lo storico illustratore legato al celebre franchise di Final Fantasy. 聽
La quarta stagione della popolare commedia diretta e sceneggiata da Rareko, con protagonista l鈥檃dorabile e metallara mascotte di Sanrio, arriver脿 su Netflix聽il 16聽dicembre.
Svelato un nuovo teaser trailer per聽la seconda stagione聽della serie animata, che聽sbarcher脿 su Netflix聽nella primavera 2022.
L'adattamento in computer grafica si basa sull鈥檕monimo聽manga di Eichi Shimizu e Tomohiro Shimoguchi (il duo dietro Linebarrels of Iron), edito in Italia da Star Comics, ispirato a sua volta allo storico supereroe protagonista della popolare serie tokusatsu anni 鈥60 di Tsuburaya Productions.
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Il debutto dell鈥檕riginale serie animata聽targata聽WIT STUDIO聽(Ousama Ranking, Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song) 猫 stato spostato al 2022.聽Le due protagoniste della storia, Momo e Fine, saranno interpretate rispettivamente da聽Megumi Han (Atsuko Kagari in聽Little Witch Academia) e聽Yuu Kobayashi (Noi in Dorohedoro).
l progetto sta venendo diretto da Ryotaro Makihara (L鈥檌mpero dei cadaveri, Hal) con l鈥檃ssistenza di Hiroyuki Tanaka (Claymore). Il character design e il comparto animazioni sono supervisionati da Tetsuya Nishio (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations), mentre le musiche sono composte da Yoshihiro Ike (Takt Op. Destiny).
Netflix聽ha annunciato che distribuir脿 in esclusiva gli adattamenti animati聽di聽鈥淭he Culprit Hanzawa鈥 e 鈥淶ero鈥檚 Tea Time鈥, due spinoff聽di 鈥淒etective Conan鈥澛燾he per il momento non hanno una data di debutto.
Il primo 猫 un gag manga ad opera di Mayuko Kanba, che ha come protagonista la classica silhouette del colpevole misterioso, che incontriamo sempre nelle varie storie del celebre investigatore di Gosho Aoyama.
Il secondo ci porta invece dentro la vita quotidiana dell鈥檜omo dalle molteplici identit脿, conosciuto come Bourbon, super agente degli Uomini in Nero, Rei Furuya, agente segreto della NPA e Toru Amuro, detective privato nonch茅 cameriere del Caf茅 Poirot.
Mostrato un primo teaser trailer per l鈥檃nime tratto dal manga slice of life 鈥淜otaro wa Hitorigurashi鈥澛燿i聽Mami Tsumura, che arriver脿 su Netflix聽nel corso della primavera 2022.
La serie sta venendo diretta da聽Tomoe Makino (Woodpecker Detective's Office) presso gli studi聽LIDENFILMS聽(Tokyo Revengers, Cells at Work! Black) e la sceneggiatura 猫 stata affidata a Yu Sato聽(Space Battleship Tiramisu).
Il piccolo Kotaro 猫 doppiato da聽Rie Kugimiya (Kagura in Gintama), mentre聽Toshiki Masuda (Eijiro Kirishima in My Hero Academia) ha il ruolo di Shin Karino, il mangaka che abita vicino al bambino.
Il nuovo anime聽sci-fi del regista e sceneggiatore Mitsuo Iso聽(Denno Coil), dal titolo聽鈥淐hikyugai Shonen Shojo鈥 (Extra-Terrestrial Boys and Girls),聽arriver脿 in streaming sulla piattaforma dal 28 gennaio 2022.
I 6 episodi della miniserie sono stati realizzati presso聽PRODUCTION +H, un nuovo studio d鈥檃nimazione, fondato appositamente per creare il titolo.
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La nuova serie animata in stop-motion,聽dedicata all鈥檃dorabile orsacchiotto di San-X, arriver脿 su Netflix nel corso del 2022.
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Autore: SilenziO)))
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elizabethanism 2 months ago
"There are no norms. All people are exceptions to a rule that doesn鈥檛 exist."
~ Fernando Pessoa
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